I've never been certain just what Children's Literature New England is. However, it ran its final Summer Institute this past week. You can read all about it at Where is Walter This Week? because last week he was at the CLNE Institute.
This thing was held on the campus of St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. Colchester just happens to be the town where I suffered through a horrible student teaching experience at a school that doesn't appear to exist anymore. I thought it was called the John F. Kennedy Middle School, but all they have is a Colchester Middle School now. Maybe I'm repressing.
But back to the CLNE Institute--According to Walter, they had many, many big names there. Like Margaret Mahy, Katherine Patterson, Gregory Maguire, Tim Wynne-Jones, and more, more, more!
It sounds as if they talked about some interesting things, like Airborn and Wonder Woman. And I liked Walter's description of events because while he seems to have loved everything, there was a bit of subtext to his blog that maybe suggested that every moment wasn't sweetness and light.
"Then Suzanne Fisher Staples evoked a South African novelist whose name I never quite got (Van der something), but her usual concise speaking style was not in evidence and my mind began to wander--"
"TUESDAY started with poetry, as is the CLNE tradition, by a diverse set of writers, including Langston Hughes, Kay Winters, Leonard Gibbs, and ending with some Yeats. It always interesting to see how the selections relate to the theme. Sometimes, it is not clear..."
This institute had a theme, The Heroic Ideal Revisited. I don't know if I have enough attention span for five crazy days and nights of listening to people talk about the same thing, especially that. I think people tend to get a little...other worldly?...gushy?...pretentious?...when they talk about anything that includes the word "heroic."
I try to imagine myself at a five-day event where I have to be with large groups of people who are not bound to me by blood or vows. It ain't pretty. For that matter, five days with a large group of people who are bound to me by blood or vows would be a serious trial.
I do have some experience with conferences, though. A writers' conference, in fact. Later this month I plan to blog about it.
To conclude, though, I've never been certain what Children's Literature New England, and now it doesn't even have its institute.